With renewed spirit, Park poised to dominate again

By Randall MellMarch 5, 2017, 4:13 pm

Get out of her way. The Queen Bee is back.

After a long layoff recuperating from injury, Inee Park didn’t take long to remind us that while she may already be a Hall of Famer, she isn’t done astonishing us.

Park, 28, showed Sunday in Singapore that she may not be done dominating, either.

In just her second start after a six-month layoff, Park beat a stellar field that included the top 15 players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. Park won the HSBC Women’s Champions looking poised to reassert herself as a force at the top of the women’s game. 

With a course record 8-under-par 64, Park came from three shots back in the final round to win her 18th LPGA title. At 19-under overall, Park finished a shot ahead of Rolex world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (66).

Park won the way she always did at her best. She won making just about every putt she looked at on the Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong Course.

Park’s putter was so hot Sunday, you wondered if it was going to spontaneously combust. You wondered if her caddie, Brad Beecher, ought to be toting a fire extinguisher with her golf bag.

“My putting was amazing today, obviously,” Park said. “In the middle of the round, I felt like I could make it from anywhere.”

Park made nine birdies, seven of them with putts of 20 feet or longer.

“Her putter is really good, awesome,” said Ha Na Jang, who finished tied for fourth playing alongside Park. “I feel like she made every putt. I don’t think she missed one putt today.”

Nobody in today’s game is capable of demoralizing a field the way Park can with her putter. She deflates spirits in ways even power players with their intimidating length cannot.

Still, Park’s triumph was a tour-de-force performance about more than putting.

Park hit every fairway Sunday and missed just one green in regulation. Yes, the fairways are generous at Sentosa, but Park missed just one fairway the entire week.

“It’s a very impressive round, no matter how the course is set up,” said Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko, who finished tied for ninth. “To shoot 8-under on the final day, it's not easy. I think she should be very proud of herself for that. It was super impressive to see.”

After Park took control running off a string of seven birdies over eight holes in the middle of the round, Jutanugarn kept applying pressure. Jutanugarn was regularly bombing her 3-wood 20 and 30 yards past Park’s driver, but Jutanugarn couldn’t rattle the unflappable Park.

“She’s so calm,” said Jutanugarn, whose play at the 17th summed up the frustration that can come playing Park.

A shot down, Jutanugarn stiffed her tee shot to 3 feet. Park followed, pushing her tee shot 35 feet right of the hole. With Jutanugarn waiting to putt, Park stole the moment. Park buried her long putt.

“She’s awesome,” Jutanugarn said afterward. “She’s the best player.”

Park’s victory is more remarkable when you consider how much rust she ought to have on her game. She didn’t just shut down her game after winning Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro in August, resting six months to heal up ligament damage in her left thumb, going four of those months without touching a club. She didn’t play an LPGA event for two months leading into the Olympics. Park’s win Sunday in Singapore came in just her third LPGA start in nine months.

Park said all the time away helped her. It didn’t just heal her body. It rejuvenated her spirit.

“It was really important,” Park said “Because I was really just getting burned out.”

After earning induction into the Hall of Fame early last summer, and then winning Olympic gold late in the summer, Park said she wasn’t sure what she had left to prove. The time away made her hungry to get back on tour.

“My goal is to win a major championship this year,” said Park, who has won seven of them.

Park told GolfChannel.com back in January that the Olympics made such a large impression on her, she’s already thinking about a return to try to win another at the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

So get out of her way. Park has places to go again.

Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.